Popular messaging app Telegram has been banned in Russian Federation

Ilya Naymushin  ReutersThe Telegram logo is seen on a screen of a smartphone in this

Ilya Naymushin ReutersThe Telegram logo is seen on a screen of a smartphone in this

Because Telegram is recognized as an operator of information dissemination in Russian Federation, the company is required to provide encryption keys to let the Federal Security Service read the correspondence of suspected terrorists.

On Friday morning, the Tagansky District Court described the request of Telegram's lawyers to adjourn the hearings as "abuse of law" and ordered the trial to go ahead.

After months of back-and-forth between Telegram and Russia's telecommunications watchdog, a court in Moscow has ruled for the immediate ban of the messaging app in Russian Federation. Durov reportedly told his lawyers not to show up, so as "not to legitimize an outspoken farce by their presence".

"Telegram can be forced to give up data only if an issue is grave and universal enough to pass the scrutiny of several different legal systems around the world", it explains on its website, clarifying that "several court orders from different jurisdictions are required to force us to give up any data". The ban is likely to come in the next month after Telegram has exhausted the appeals process, and will pave the way for it to be blocked across the whole of Russian Federation. However, the ban will only come into effect once Telegram has gone through the appeals process in the coming month.

The court decision on Telegram is meant to make one of the last holdouts among communications companies bow to Putin's efforts to track electronic messaging. Earlier, Durov tweeted that threats would not work and that the company would always protect the freedom and privacy of its clients.

In March, Roskomnadzor notified Telegram that it must comply with the FSB request to provide the FSB "with the information necessary to decode received, transmitted, delivered and (or) processed electronic messages". The suit sought to limit Russians' access to Telegram after the company's refusals to allow Russian authorities to read its users' messages.

This is not the first time Telegram has locked horns with the authorities over access to correspondences. They refused to sign the document and the FSB took the case to court.

According to the FSB, Telegram was used by the suicide bomber and plotter of the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg's metro in April 2017, which killed 15 people.

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